Black Lingerie Chronicle, Part Thirteen

Rolling onto her back, Erin opened her eyes and sighed. She looked up at the swirling shadows cast by the wind shook tree limbs outside her window. It had been raining for hours, starting just before nightfall. She couldn’t help but think this was the perfect weather for sleeping, which only made her shake her head. About twenty minutes ago, she had turned out the light, but she was no closer to sleep now than when she had lain down. She hadn’t been sleepy when she turned in, had only gone to bed because she thought she should. Tomorrow was a school day, and she knew she’d feel lousy if she didn’t get some sleep.

She didn’t know why she was having so much trouble falling asleep, which only added to her frustration. She hadn’t drunk too much caffeine, wasn’t stressing out over anything. She just wasn’t sleepy.

Erin glanced at her alarm clock, wondering if Ashley or Mindy were still awake. Seeing what time it was, she doubted it. Sighing, she left her phone on her nightstand, untouched. She didn’t want to wake either of her friends just because she couldn’t sleep.

Then she remembered she had a friend who never slept. Smiling, she wondered if Natty would mind a visit. The smile widened as Erin thought maybe Natty could help her blow off some steam and finally get ready to catch some shut eye.

Erin closed her eyes in the darkness of her bedroom and opened them in Natty’s old bedroom. She headed downstairs, expecting to find Natty on the couch with the doppelganger of Erin’s laptop on her knees. This had become Natty’s customary position, but she wasn’t there now. The laptop sat closed in the spot the girl had vacated.

“Natty?” Erin called, getting no answer.

She turned, intending to look upstairs, when she something caught her eye. Curious, she walked into the kitchen, stepping up to the dining table. Everything had been cleared from it and a road map spread out on its wooden surface. Next to the map was a tablet with what appeared to be directions to… somewhere. Picking up the notebook, Erin saw a bunch of interstates in the list, realized Natty’s destination wasn’t local.

Still looking at the directions, Erin said out loud, “Where are you going, Natty?”

Erin set the tablet down and went in search of the girl. She found Natty in her bedroom, packing clothing into a couple of suitcases on the bed. Sensing Erin, Natty glanced over her shoulder, gasping as she spotted Erin.

“Erin!” Natty said, happily, as she came over to where Erin stood just inside the room. She gave Erin a hearty hug.

Squeezing the girl back, Erin asked, “Going somewhere?”

Natty pulled back to arm’s length, glancing at the bags on the bed. She was smiling excitedly when she looked back at Erin, said, “Um, yeah… I’ve decided to take Ashley’s advice.”

“Ashley’s advice?” Erin parroted, not sure what the girl was talking about for a second. Then she remembered something Ashley had said and she laughed, “You mean about this place being your playground?”

“Yeah,” Natty said, with a nervous laugh, “I-I’m going to explore this world of mine.”

“So where are you going first?” Erin asked, looking at the suitcases. She thought she was right about Natty’s destination not being local. The girl was packing a lot of clothes for a day trip.

“Arizona,” Natty said.

“The Grand Canyon?” Erin guessed, smiling when the girl’s face lit up. It seemed to please Natty that Erin had remembered.

“The Grand Canyon,” Natty confirmed, excitedly.

“By yourself?” Erin asked.

The question seemed to catch Natty off guard and she looked away. Erin thought she was embarrassed about something. Sure enough, Natty stammered as she said, “I- I thought about asking if one of you girls wanted to come but… I mean, I’m going to be gone a week or so. Maybe more… I know time doesn’t pass over there when you are here, but… it still seems like a long time, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” Erin agreed, then something Natty had said sank in, “wait… One of us?”

Blushing, Natty said, “Things get… complicated when you are all here.”

Erin laughed and gave her a knowing look, said, “That’s one word for it. A free-for-all is more like it.”

“Yeah,” Natty said, shaking her head, “I knew there was no way I could pick just one of you to come with me. I love you all too much to chose… So, I figured I’d just go alone.”

Nodding, Erin said, “Makes sense, but vacations are a whole lot more fun with other people.”

Natty sighed and said, “I know. Believe me, I want some company, but… It wouldn’t be fair to the two who didn’t get to come. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone’s feelings.”

Erin thought about it for a second. How could Natty impartially pick one of them to take on the road trip? A pretty obvious method popped into her head and she smiled. It was simple but effective. Closing her eyes, she thought her cell phone into her hand. There was a rush of escaping air, a tingle of potential, then she felt the cool plastic of her phone in her palm. Opening her eyes, she saw Natty looking at her curiously. Smiling, she showed the girl the device.

“Pick a number between one and a hundred,” Erin said, unlocking her phone, “don’t tell me what it is.”

“Why?” Natty asked, moving so she could look at the phone. Erin realized the girl had never seen one in person, maybe not at all. She made a mental note to show it to her as soon as she was finished figuring out who was going to the Grand Canyon with Natty.

“You’ll see,” Erin said, calling Ashley. Belated, she realized she had taken it for granted that it would work, that miraculously there would be cell service in the afterlife. She could only smile and shake her head as the phone started to ring in her ear.

“Do you have your number?” Erin asked, as she waited for the redhead to answer.

Natty nodded.

“Why are you calling so late?” Ashley grumbled, sounding half asleep when she came on the line.

“Pick a number between one and a hundred,” Erin said, grinning as she saw Natty’s eyes widen.

“A number?” Ashley parroted, the frown on her face clear in her voice.

“Natty is going to the Grand Canyon and wants one of us to come with her. So, pick a number,” Erin said.

“I don’t know… Thirty-two,” Ashley said, yawning.

Erin repeated the number to Natty.

“Why just one of us?” Ashley asked, sounding more awake now.

Smiling, Erin explained, “Natty said things get complicated when we are all here.”

Ashley laughed, “That’s one word for it.”

Snorting, Erin said, “I said the same thing.”

“Did I guess right? Is it thirty-two?” Ashley asked.

“I don’t know. I still have to call Mindy. I’ll text you in a minute and let you know,” Erin said.

“Okay,” Ashley said, then gasped, “Wait…Text me? Are you- Holy shit, you are! You are on your cell phone.”

“Yeah,” Erin said, laughing at her friend’s excitement.

“You have service in the Place of Locked Doors?” Ashley asked, in disbelief.

“Apparently,” Erin said.

“See, this is what I’ve been talking about,” Ashley said, sourly, “my parents need to switch to Verizon. I can’t even get service at school.”

Laughing, Erin said, “I don’t think it matters what provider I have. I doubt Verizon has cell towers in the afterlife.”

“There shouldn’t be cell towers at all, if Natty really is stuck in the fifties,” Ashley said, then added, “I’m pretty sure cell phones and towers weren’t invented until the eighties. The seventies, at the earliest.”

“I think it works the same way the internet on my laptop does,” Erin said, shrugging even though Ashley couldn’t see the gesture, “this phone and the real one are connected, somehow.”

“Makes sense,” Ashley said, then snorted, “well, not really, but you know what I mean.”

“Yeah,” Erin said, amused.

“Anyway, tell Natty I love her and hope I win,” Ashley said.

“I will. Bye.”

“Bye,” Ashley said, ending the call.

As she called Mindy, Erin said to Natty, “Ashley said she loves you and hope she wins.”

That made Natty smile.

Mindy picked up on the fifth ring, sounding more awake than Ashley had, “Hello?”

“Hey, Mindy. Did I wake you?” Erin asked.

“Um, no,” Mindy said.

“Really? What are you doing up so late?”

Sounding like she was blushing, Mindy said, “I’ve got Sarah on the other line. We were talking and I guess I lost track of time.”

“Aww, you two are so cute,” Erin teased.

“Shut up,” Mindy said, laughing.

“I’ll let you get back to Sarah in a second. Natty is going to the Grand Canyon and wants one of us to come with her. Just one of us, though.”

Mindy burst out laughing, said, “I get that. Things get… complicated when we are all there. It was kind of nice when we were on the beach, just Natty and I.”

“That’s kind of funny. She used the word complicated, too,” Erin said, grinning.

“It is complicated,” Mindy said.

“Well, pick a number between one and hundred. Whoever gets closest to the number gets to go with Natty,” Erin said.

There was a hesitation, then Mindy said, “Maybe I shouldn’t go.”

“Why?” Erin asked.

After another brief hesitation, Mindy said, “Natty is… well, Natty. She’s irresistible. I’m not sure I could behave myself alone with her. Sarah and I… well, you know.”

“Aww,” Erin said, laughing.

“How long are you going to keep doing that?” Mindy asked and Erin could picture her smiling and shaking her head.

“Until you two stop being so adorable,” Erin said.

Sighing, Mindy said, “Tell Natty I love her.”

“I will. Tell Sarah I said hello. Bye,” Erin said.

“Bye,” Mindy said, ending the call.

To Natty, Erin said, “Mindy’s out.”

“Really? Why?” Natty asked.

“She thinks you are irresistible and she doesn’t think she can behave on a trip with you,” Erin said, grinning at the girl.

Blushing, Natty said, “Oh.”

“She was on the phone with Sarah when I called,” Erin said.

“They are sweet,” Natty said, smiling.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m going to get diabetes standing next to them,” Erin said, making Natty laugh, “anyway, did Ashley guess right? Was it thirty-two?”

“No. It’s your guess,” Nattie said, her blue eyes flashing at Erin.

“Fifty-six?” Erin said, crossing her fingers so Natty could see them.

Laughing, Natty came to Erin and gave her a lingering kiss, then said, “Pack some clothes. We’ll leave tonight.”

Erin smiled at the girl, wrapped her arms around her neck and said, “Why clothes? That’s the best part of the Place of Locked Doors… You don’t need them.”

Natty kissed her again, said, “It’ll be cold where we are headed. It can get down to around freezing at night.”

“I bet I can keep you warm,” Erin said, pressing her body against Natty’s.

“Keep that up and we’ll never get on the road,” Natty said, with a sexy smile.

“Here’s my idea,” Erin said, favoring the girl with one of her own, “we skip packing. We can find anything we need on the road. What’s a vacation without a little shopping, anyway?”

Amused, Natty gave her a quick kiss, asked, “And what would we do with the time we saved by not packing?”

“I’m sure we can think of something,” Erin said, making the girl laugh, “I’ll text Ashley. Why don’t you clear us a spot on the bed.”

“Text?” Natty asked, glancing at the cell phone.

“Right,” Erin said, sheepishly, “you don’t know how to use a cell phone. I’ll teach you later, when we are on the road. It’s yours now, anyway.”

“Mine?” Natty parroted, looking at the phone, again.

“Yeah,” Erin said, putting her hand on Natty’s chin and turning her head, “but that can wait.”

Natty favored Erin with a smile that made it hard to breathe, then kissed her. It was a deep, lingering kiss that made her want the girl even more than she had when she had been lying in bed earlier, wide awake and horny. She responded to the kiss, the closeness of Natty’s body, the subtle scent of her perfume. Desire welled up in Erin and she wanted the girl so bad.

Pulling back, Natty husked, “Text Ashley.”

So caught up in the kiss, Erin had forgotten about texting Ashley. Grabbing her phone, she was a little amused to see her hands shaking. Natty tended to have that effect on her. Erin looked at the girl as she started moving things around on the bed to make them some room and her heart started racing. Another effect Natty had on her. Natty was so beautiful and confident, had a sexuality about her that Erin was helpless to respond to.

Mindy is right, Erin thought, shaking her head as she admired how the sheer nightie Natty wore clung to her lovely young body, Natty really is irresistible.

She sent to Ashley: I won. You can go with her next time

Erin didn’t wait to see if the redhead responded, tossed the phone aside and went to Natty. Embracing her from behind, Erin nuzzled her neck, making Natty giggle. Erin ran her hands up Natty’s taut stomach to cup her small breasts through the thin nightie. She felt Natty’s nipples stiffen under the attention and the girl moaned thickly as they drug across Erin’s palms.

Natty melted back into Erin, said, “I haven’t finished making us a spot.”

“You are taking too long,” Erin said, her hands moving higher. She slipped the straps of the lingerie from Natty’s shoulders, then helped the girl shimmy out of it. It pooled around Natty’s ankles on the floor and Erin saw the girl wasn’t wearing anything else. Smiling, Erin kissed the girl’s neck, just behind her ear and Natty shivered.

“Tickles,” Natty said.

Smiling, Erin kissed her shoulder. Natty sighed and melted even more in Erin’s arms. Without the lingerie in the way anymore, Erin’s hands found Natty’s breasts, again. Natty’s hands came up to cover Erin’s as a moan slipped past Natty’s parted lips. Getting the message, Erin didn’t stop until Natty was squirming in her arms. As she grew more and more excited, Natty’s little sounds of enjoyment started to fill the room.

When Natty reached up and back, her fingers slipping into the hair on the back of Erin’s head, Erin let one of her hands slip down Natty’s stomach. Natty’s breathing quickened as Erin’s hand moved lower and lower. She was holding her breath by the time Erin’s fingers eased into the cleft of her thighs. The pressure of Erin’s caress drew a moan from Natty and her fingers tightened in Erin’s hair as her hips started moving undulating against Erin’s hand eagerly.

“Mm… You’ve got magic fingers,” Natty moaned.

With her free hand, Erin explored Natty’s lovely body. For all the times she has lain with the girl, she still found her fascinating, like she was just discovering the plains and curves of Natty’s body for the first time. She couldn’t seem to get enough of the girl.

“I love how soft your skin is,” Erin said, kissing Natty’s shoulder.

“Mm…” Natty said, a happy sound. She snuggled even tighter against Erin, her backside rubbing against Erin’s lower abdomen as she writhed in pleasure. Her voice was thick with excitement as she said, “You say the sweetest things.”

“You know, Mindy was right,” Erin whispered in Natty’s ear.

“About what?” Natty asked, a little breathlessly.

“You really are irresistible,” Erin said.

Shifting her position so she could smile at Erin, Natty said, “Keep that up and you’ll make me blush.”

“Just saying,” Erin said, kissing her.

The kiss wanted to linger but Natty was having trouble concentrating, her body distracted by the lovely things Erin’s capable fingers were doing to her. Natty finally had to give up, unable to hold back her little cries anymore.

“You’ve gotten so good at this,” Natty said, in a breathy moan, “keep this up and you are going to make me come.”

“I’m not going to stop,” Erin said, smiling.

Natty’s hips started to lose their grace and Erin knew the girl was about to climax. She kept her fingers moving, pushing Natty closer and closer to the edge of ecstasy. There came a breathless moment where Natty’s body reached its threshold, a moment of stillness right before Natty came. It was the hush right before the storm and Erin found herself holding her breath right along with Natty. Only when Natty cried out and stiffened in her arms, did Erin let out the pent up breath. She wrapped Natty up in her arms, held the girl as her body went crazy.

Turning in Erin’s arms, Natty smiled at her, said, “Told you you were going to make me come.”

“Well, you are welcome,” Erin said, stealing a kiss.

Natty’s smile turned up even more and she said, “Oh, I haven’t thanked you, yet.”

“Oh yeah?” Erin asked, her heart beating a little faster.

“Let’s get you out of these clothes and I’ll show you my appreciation,” Natty said, her fingers hooking in the bottom of Erin’s shirt.

Erin raised her arms over her head and Natty pulled the shirt up and off. She tossed it aside, then slipped her fingers into the waistband of Erin’s panties. Natty worked the underwear off Erin’s hips, then let them slide down Erin’s legs. Her eyes flashing, Natty looked Erin up and down, her eyes hot on Erin’s naked body. The smile she gave Erin made her breath catch in her throat and her already racing heart beat even faster.

“Who’s irresistible now?” Natty said, playfully.

That smile Natty was favoring her with made Erin think maybe she really was irresistible. The way the girl was looking at her now made her feel beautiful and sexy. Natty always made her feel that way when she turned those brilliant blue eyes on her. She’d be lying if she said she didn’t like the feeling.

“You are going to make me blush,” Erin said, repeating Natty’s words back to her. She wasn’t sure that she wasn’t already blushing.

Natty stepped close and gave Erin a quick, but heated kiss before saying, “Just saying.”

Erin was definitely blushing now, but she was also smiling. She moved against Natty, gave her a long, appreciative kiss. Some of the blood must have left her face because a pleasant warmth spread between her thighs. When Natty’s hand slipped between their bodies, sliding down Erin’s stomach and between her thighs, Erin was more than ready for her touch. The lazy circles Natty’s fingers made brought a moan to Erin’s lips and Erin had to break the kiss to let it free.

Putting her arms around Natty’s neck, Erin rested her head on Natty’s shoulder and closed her eyes. In her personal darkness, she basked in the lovely sensation Natty was awakening in her body. The girl’s capable fingers had her writhing in pleasure, her hips grinding against Natty’s hand. As waves of pleasure worked through her, Erin’s fingers dug into Natty’s shoulder and her sounds of enjoyment filled the room. As they grew louder, Erin buried her face in Natty’s neck to muffle them, even though there wasn’t anyone around to hear them. She was a little embarrassed by how loud she was getting and this was the only thing she could do to rein in her cries.

Natty’s fingers worked faster and faster, making Erin’s nerve endings crazy. It didn’t take long for Erin to feel the first stirrings of an orgasm. Moaning, she said, “Oh God, Oh God!”

Over her thundering heartbeat, Erin heard Natty ask, “Are you going to come for me?”

“Yeah,” Erin sighed, her hips jerking out of control, “Oh God- Yeah!”

Her answer became a cry of ecstasy as her body exploded with pleasure. Her orgasm shook her like a rag doll and she clung to Natty as her knees grew weak. All the tension fled her body and she felt boneless, as light as a cloud in the blue sky.

When she had herself under something resembling control, Erin pulled back and gave Natty an embarrassed smile, said, “Sorry about that.”

“What?” Natty said, pretending to be deaf.

“Well, it’s your own fault,” Erin said, blushing and laughing at her own expense.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Natty said, grinning at her.

“Oh, it was a compliment, believe me,” Erin said, kissing Natty deeply.

When Natty started to respond, Erin broke the kiss to laugh and say, “I guess we aren’t getting on the road anytime soon.”

“Come on,” Natty said, taking Erin’s hand.

Following her out of the room, Erin asked, “Where are we going?”

“My old room,” Natty said, leading Erin down the hall.

Smiling, Erin guessed, “That bed must be empty.”

“Not for long,” Natty said.

“Oh my,” Erin laughed.

—————————————–

Glancing away from the road at her friend, Erin could barely believe they were doing this. The beach had been a long trip but this was almost twice as far. It would take them nearly twenty-five hours to drive there. Maybe more, depending on how much mischief they got into and Erin almost insisted on getting into some trouble on the way.

They had borrowed Natty’s neighbor’s car, bringing only a single bag with them. Not a stitch of clothing between them, only a backpack with the map and Natty’s directions, Erin’s digital camera and laptop, and an assortment of sex toys Erin had insisted on bringing. Natty had been amused by the contents of the bag, prompting Erin to say, “We can find everything else on the road.”

Before hitting the highway, they had gassed up the car and grabbed snacks for the road. Just because they didn’t need to eat in the Place of Locked Doors, didn’t mean they couldn’t enjoy a snack and a frosty beverage or two.

She had left her bedroom on Thursday night and it was already Friday morning. The sun was starting to push back the night and it would be fully light out soon. From her spot behind the steering wheel, Erin marveled at the breaking of dawn. Time was passing at a normal rate, yet not passing at all. For her, it was both Friday morning and still Thursday night.

I wonder if I’m seeing the future, Erin wondered, looking up at the clearing sky. It had been raining when she went to sleep but the storm had broke over night. Blue skies were peeking through the clouds and she thought, I wonder if the weather will be same when I get back to the real world. Will it be sunny for my Friday, too?

Then she had another thought, Was it even Friday here? Or was Natty stuck reliving the same day over and over? Was it always sunny in the Place of Locked Doors because it had been sunny when she died?

Glancing away from the road, she asked, “Does the weather change here?”

“What?” Natty asked.

“Does it ever snow or rain? Get hot in the summer and cold in the winter?” Erin asked.

“Of course,” Natty said, giving Erin a curious look, “why?”

“I was just thinking… When I get back to my body and wake up Friday morning- today- will it be sunny like this? It was raining when I flipped over,” Erin said.

“Huh,” Natty said, thinking about it, “it was raining here, too. You can see the water still on the road.”

Erin hadn’t noticed that, but the girl was right. For a reason she couldn’t quite put her finger on, the wet road got her heart racing. There was something important about the rain or, at least what it signified. The changing of weather indicated passing of time, which meant she really was in the future. Or just further ahead in the past. How could she still be in the past if time was progressing, but how could she be in the future with the antique automobiles and out dated merchandise on the shelves? Did the days advance but not the world?

That question was too much for five o’clock in the morning and Erin filed it away for later. She did take a mental note of the temperature and the weather conditions, like the mist they had run into leaving town. Just collecting information, so she could think about this curious temporal loop she was in when she had the time.

“Are you okay?” Natty asked, bringing Erin back from her thoughts.

“Um, yeah. Why?” Erin asked.

“You are only going twenty miles an hour,” Natty said, looking pointedly at the speedometer.

Sheepishly, Erin said, “I was thinking about this place, how nothing makes sense. I didn’t even realize I was slowing down.”

“Maybe I should drive if you want to try and figure this place out,” Natty said, laughing.

“I’m okay. I’m done thinking about this place. My head is starting to hurt, anyway,” Erin said, smiling at her.

Their speed picked up and Erin kept the car at eighty as they rocketed down the empty interstate. Erin glanced at Natty, looked at the open laptop on her knees. She had to shake her head as she saw the girl was on the internet, even though they were miles away from the router. It didn’t make any sense, which made perfect sense for this place.

Natty was watching a show on Netflix, which made Erin smile. The girl really had embraced a digital world she had never experienced in life.

“What are you watching?” Erin asked, curious what sort of show a girl who has been dead for fifty plus years watched.

“Supernatural,” Natty said, glancing away from the screen.

Laughing, Erin asked, “Really?”

Grinning, Natty said, “The irony isn’t lost on me. Besides, maybe I’ll find something in one of these episodes that explains this place.”

“Can’t hurt, I guess,” Erin said, still laughing. Sobering up some but still smiling, she asked, “What else do you watch?”

“Why do you want to know?” Natty asked.

“Just curious. I’ve never asked,” Erin said, then blinked in surprise when she realized it was true. With a stab of guilt, she realized for all the times she has visited the girl, she didn’t know what Natty did with her free time. Well, she knew some of it, just not the details.

This road trip would be the perfect time to get to know the friendly ghost. Smiling, she thought about last night and changed it to very friendly ghost. She felt another stab of guilt as she realized she really only visited Natty when she was horny. She hasn’t been the best friend to the girl.

As she drove, she asked the girl questions, got to know her better. Natty asked more than a few of her own and Erin was pleasantly surprised how much they had in common now. No longer fifty years out of date, Natty liked a lot of the movies and even some of the same music as Erin. A little ruefully, Erin realized that even if Natty weren’t incredibly beautiful and great in the sack, she’d have liked the girl. The fact that she was easy on the eyes and a vixen between the sheets didn’t hurt.

“This is nice,” Erin said, smiling at the girl.

“Yeah,” Natty said, then sat up straighter, “do you want to stop for a while? Maybe get something to eat?”

“I thought you didn’t need to eat?” Erin said.

“Doesn’t mean I don’t want to,” Natty said, grinning.

“Can you cook?” Erin asked.

“A little,” Natty said, then with an embarrassed laugh, “I’ve been practicing ever since we went to the mall.”

“Mindy made some killer burgers, didn’t she?” Erin asked.

“Yeah,” Natty agreed, smiling, “it’s what inspired me to learn.”

“Start looking for an exit,” Erin said, looking around, “we need to find a restaurant to break into.”

“A restaurant to break into?” Natty parroted.

“Unless you feel like breaking into someone’s house, instead,” Erin said, grinning at her, “ the only problem with that is you might get a health food nut. Did you have them in the fifties? Eating tofu and quinoa?”

“What is quinoa?” Natty asked.

Laughing, Erin said, “I don’t even know. I just heard it on a TV show, once.”

“Maybe we should just find a McDonalds,” Natty said.

“I like the way you think,” Erin said.

Erin tried the next exit, but it turned out to be the main street of a little nowhere town. Without a fast food joint in sight, Erin doubled back to the interstate. She drove about twenty minutes further when she started seeing signs for a major city. Well, a city. It wasn’t New York or anything, but was definitely bigger than her hometown. Erin was willing to bet it would have a few burger joints, at least.

The signs on the side of the interstate gave them plenty of warning that the city was approaching, starting at thirty miles out. Erin steered the car onto the exit ramp, followed it around in a slow loop. No sooner did she pull onto the surface street did she start seeing restaurants. A lot of them.

Laughing, she said, “We’ve got options.”

“Ooh, KFC,” Natty said, pointing, “I could go for some fried chicken.”

“Do you know how to make fried chicken?” Erin asked, smiling at her, “because I don’t.”

“Oh,” Natty said, her shoulders falling, “no, I don’t know how.”

“That’s okay,” Erin said, pulling into the parking lot, “Google will save the day.”

“Ah, Google,” Natty said, laughing, “how I ever used to live without it.”

“You use Google?” Erin asked, turning off the car.

“All the time,” Natty said, smiling at Erin, “I’ve had fifty years to catch up on. I’ve learned so much from the internet.”

Cringing, Erin said, “I wouldn’t trust everything you read.”

Natty laughed, said, “Yeah, I figured that one out on my own.”

“Come on,” Erin said, opening her door, “let’s try to make some chicken that’s finger licking good.”

Natty gasped, asked, “Do they still use that slogan?”

“Yeah,” Erin said, pausing halfway out the door to look at Natty, “Why?”

“They used it in my time, too,” Natty said, grinning, “small world, huh?”

Laughing, Erin said, “I guess so.”

They walked up to the front door, Natty grabbing one of the decorative stones that lined the walk. Erin held up her hand, pulled on the door. When it didn’t budge, she stepped out of the way so Natty could cast her stone. The glass gave way with an almost musical tinkling.

Looking at the broken glass, Erin said, “We need shoes if we are crossing that mess.”

“What happened to ‘we don’t need clothes’?” Natty asked, giving Erin a look.

“I also said we could find what we need on the road,” Erin said nodding at the shoe store across the road, “that can’t be a coincidence. We need shoes and there is a shoe store.”

Laughing, Natty said, “I’m pretty sure it’s just dumb luck.”

“My favorite kind of luck,” Erin said, heading in the direction of the store.

“What if it is locked, too?” Natty asked, following her.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Erin said, looking both ways before crossing the road. Belatedly, she realized she had done it out of habit, not necessity. Not much traffic in the Place of Locked Doors, the chances of being hit by a car between zero and none.

Erin tugged on the door, groaning when it didn’t give. Grinning sheepishly at Natty, she asked, “I don’t suppose you know how to pick a lock?”

“Um, no,” Natty said, laughing.

Erin started to turn away when she spotted the laptop in Natty’s hand. Pointing at it, Erin said, “Google how to pick a lock.”

“What? Are you serious?” Natty said, then when she saw Erin was indeed serious, “do you think it is on Google? Isn’t picking locks illegal?”

“If they don’t belong to you, yeah,” Erin said, laughing when Natty gave her a look, “still, I’m willing to bet you can learn how to pick a lock on Google.”

It turned out Erin was right. Ten minutes later, they had bent two paper clips with a pair of needle nose pliers they had found in the car into a tension tool and a rake pick. The rake pick was a straightened paper clip, with its tip bent into a lopsided W-shape with the big spike in the back. The tension tool was just a paper clip bent into an ‘L’ shape, with the short end going into the lock.

Erin didn’t see how this could work, looking down at the two pieces of metal in her palm. She had seen the guy in the video do it, but she was still skeptical. He had said it was really simple to pick a lock, a lot easier than most people thought. Erin had her doubts, but she was willing to give it a try.

The rake pick went into the top of the lock, to lift the tumblers past the shear point. The tension tool goes in the bottom and serves as a means of rotating the barrel. She glanced at Natty and the girl crossed her fingers. Taking a deep breath, she applied a little pressure with the tension tool, careful not to put too much strain on the paper clip and warp it out of shape. With the rake pick, she started probing the pins until she found the one that offered the most resistance. The guy in the video said this was the first binding pin, whatever that meant. All she knew is that she was supposed to probe it with the rake until she felt it give. Doing that now, she thought she felt it. According to the video, most commercial locks had at least five binding pins. She did the same thing with the other four pins, pushing them past the shear line. She tried turning the lock and gasped when it rotated. Glancing at Natty wide-eyed, she laughed and opened the door. The whole process had taken less than a minute.

“Wow,” Natty said, smiling, “nicely done.”

“No alarm,” Erin said, listening.

“No,” Natty agreed.

Inclining her head in the direction of the open door, Erin asked, “Ready to go shoe shopping?”

“Yeah,” Natty laughed.

Walking through the store, Erin felt like she had traveled back in time. She thought if she dug through the boxes in her grandmother’s attic, she might find some old shoes like these. Smiling, she walked up and down the aisles, looking for just the right shoes.

“So many shoes,” Natty said, following Erin.

“Yeah,” Erin agreed, laughing, “we should just load up the car.”

“Maybe,” Natty said, looking around, “we’d need a bigger car.”

“Let’s just pick one pair for now,” Erin said, grinning at Natty, “there are plenty more stores to break into on this trip.”

Shaking her head and laughing, Natty said, “We shouldn’t have watched that video.”

———————————————–

“This is so good.”

Sitting at a little table inside KFC, Erin and Natty were talking over the meal of crispy chicken they had created. Erin smiled at Natty and nodded, said, “Delicious.”

“It’s good to know Google can be used for good, as well as evil,” Natty said, picking out another leg from the bucket.

Laughing, Erin said, “Says the girl who has about a half dozen pairs of shoes in the trunk of the car. I thought we were just taking one pair?”

Natty said, “One pair or six… After the first one, it’s the same difference. Besides, three of the shoe boxes in the trunk belong to you.”

“Well, I was just following your lead,” Erin said, laughing when Natty gave her a look, “all of the shoes are cute, though.”

“They are cute, aren’t they?” Natty said, grinning.

“We’ll have to find some clothes to go with them,” Erin said, sipping her Coke.

“More burglary?” Natty asked.

“One store or six… After the first one, it’s the same difference,” Erin said, making Natty laugh.

As the girl’s laughter dried up, Natty smiled warmly at Erin, said, “Thanks for coming with me. This trip is going to be a lot more fun with you here.”

“I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, either,” Erin said, then thought about it, “I’ve been to the beach because of you. Now, the Grand Canyon…”

“I could say the same of you, though,” Natty said, her smile widening, “I’d still be stuck in my bedroom if it wasn’t for you. I would never have seen the living room, again, let alone the beach.”

Laughing, Erin said, “We must have looked so dumb with that sheet wrapped around us.”

“A little,” Natty agreed.

“The shower was fun, though,” Erin said, pausing to meet Natty’s eyes.

“We’ve had a lot of fun together,” Natty said, affectionately.

“Made a lot of crazy memories,” Erin said.

Smiling at her, Natty said, “Yeah. And making even more on this trip, I’m sure.”

“Like breaking into my first building?” Erin asked.

“It counts as a crazy memory,” Natty said, laughing, “although technically the library was our first break in.”

“True,” Erin said, her smile widening, “another good memory.”

“It had its ups and downs,” Natty said, her smile kind of sad.

Erin took the girl’s hand, said, “I know it must have been hard sharing your story with me.”

“Embarrassing, but oddly freeing,” Natty said, sighing, “I guess I needed someone to confess to.”

“You know you have my ear if you ever need to talk,” Erin said, squeezing the girl’s hand, “or my shoulder if you need to cry on it.”

“Thanks,” Natty said, smiling warmly at Erin, “the same goes for you.”

“Just for the record…” Erin said, with a playful smile, “there are a couple of other body parts I’d be okay with you… well, you know what I’m saying.”

“Yeah, I can probably guess,” Natty said, leaning across the table to kiss Erin, “I’m sure we’ll get to those body parts some point on this trip.”

“Do you want to get back on the road or look around the city? There is bound to be something we can get into,” Erin said, looking out the window.

“Like what?” Natty asked.

“We could go shopping… Look up if this city has any landmarks worth checking out,” Erin said, shrugging.

“How long did we drive before we stopped here?” Natty asked.

“I don’t know… Four hours, maybe,” Erin said.

“How far do you think we’ve gone, so far?” Natty asked.

Smiling, Erin said, “They say it’s not the destination that’s important but the journey.”

“Who says that?” Natty asked, amused.

“I don’t know… I think I heard it in a car commercial,” Erin said, shrugging.

“It’s already going to take us most of two days to get to the Grand Canyon,” Natty said.

Laughing, Erin asked, “Is there somewhere you need to be?”

“Well, no,” Natty said, meeting Erin’s eyes, “I was thinking about you.”

“You forget,” Erin said, smiling at her, “it’s still Thursday for me.”

“You are really putting that theory to the test, this time,” Natty said, sipping her Coke.

Erin’s smile turned up even more as she asked, “What does Google say there is to do in this city?”

——————————————–

“We’ve made it.”

“It only took three days,” Erin said, laughing as she got out of the car.

“I blame you for that,” Natty said, smiling at Erin across the hood of the car.

“You could have said no,” Erin said.

“No, I couldn’t,” Natty said, smiling and offering her hand to Erin.

Instead of taking the hand, Erin put her arm around Natty’s waist, pulling the girl close. They made their way to the safety rail, looking down at the river that cut through the lime stone. The view was breath taking.

“I can’t believe I’m here,” Natty said, a tear streaking down her cheek.

Erin hugged her a little tighter and Natty put her head on Erin’s shoulder. They stood like that, taking in the view.

“Thank you,” Natty said, after a while.

“For what?” Erin asked.

“This,” Natty simply said.

Erin thought Natty wasn’t just talking about the Grand Canyon. Maybe not even the trip, itself. She thought Natty meant her friendship. Swallowing hard to clear the lump in her throat, Erin said, “I’m the one who should be thanking you.”

“Do you mean that?” Natty asked, meeting Erin’s eyes.

“Yeah,” Erin said, smiling at the girl, “thank you for introducing me to a whole other world… for teaching me how to be with a girl, something I didn’t know I was missing… and thank you for being you- a beautiful, slightly kinky, more than a little weird, wonderful you. If you were anyone else, I doubt we’d be standing here right now. You’ve changed the course of my, Ashley’s and Mindy’s life forever and I- I’m glad you are my friend.”

Natty hugged her tightly, said, “I love you all so much.”

“We love you, too,” Erin said, tears streaming down her cheek.

Eventually, Natty let go of Erin and they looked at each other a little embarrassed as they wiped their eyes. An awkward silence fell between them and threatened to stretch for a while. Finally, Erin laughed and just said the first thing that came to mine, “This is a beautiful view.”

“Yeah,” Natty said, not looking at the canyon, “the Grand Canyon is nice, too.”

“We came here to see the Grand Canyon,” Erin said, smiling at her, “not me. You could have seen me back at your house.”

“But now… I get to see you at the Grand Canyon,” Natty said.

“You are such a flirt,” Erin said, her heart beating a little faster because of the way Natty was looking at her. When Natty turned those beautiful blue eyes on her, Erin’s heart always beat a little faster.

“I was thinking… It’ll be dark in a couple of hours. We should get our fire going, get settled in and we can see about using some of those toys you insisted on bringing,” Natty said.

“I didn’t say we had to use them,” Erin said, laughing, “I was just being prepared.”

“You didn’t want to pack any clothes, but you insisted on bringing a bunch of sex toys,” Natty said, a mischievous grin tugging at the corners of her mouth, “I think we can both guess what was on your mind.”

“Like I’m the only one thinking about it,” Erin said.

Laughing, Natty moved against her, said, “I’m teasing. If you hadn’t grabbed them, I would have.”

Erin kissed her, felt Natty start to respond. The eagerness of Natty’s tongue as it teased her own drew Erin deeper into the kiss than she meant for it to go. Her hands were sliding down Natty’s back to grab her buttocks before she remembered they were skipping a couple steps. Reluctantly, she pulled back and said, “We need to stop.”

“Why?” Natty asked, a little breathlessly.

“We need to get a fire going, if we are still staying here tonight,” Erin said, smiling as she kissed the girl.

“Fine,” Natty said, her hand cupping Erin’s breast, “we need to hurry, though.”

“Yeah,” Erin agreed, moaning as Natty’s palm drug across her stiffening nipple.

“I’ll look for some firewood, if you want to get the sleeping bags out of the car,” Natty said, kissing Erin’s neck.

Laughing, Erin said, “I don’t know why we got two of them. We won’t need the second one.”

Natty smiled at her and said, “I was thinking the same thing. Now, hurry.”

“Right,” Erin said, slipping out of the girl’s arms. Her legs were a little rubbery as she walked back to the car for the sleeping bags. She was looking over her shoulder at Natty and not where she was going. Only when she stubbed her toe on a rock could she look away from the girl. Her toe was yelling at her as she limped her way to the car.

Opening the back door, she saw the matching sleeping bags. She started to grab both of them, then hesitated. Grinning, she grabbed just one of them. She hoped Natty got the message. Before closing the door, she grabbed the backpack with her strap-on and Natty’s vibrator in it. She stuffed the safety lighter they had snagged on the road into the bag. Putting one shoulder through a strap, she closed the door and started back to where Natty was piling sticks. Natty looked up and started laughing when she saw Erin hadn’t brought the other sleeping bag.

“You still could have brought the other one,” Natty said.

Erin dropped the sleeping bag and shrugged out of the backpack, going to the girl for a kiss. She had to restrain herself or the kiss would get away from them. Pulling back, she said, “We won’t need it.”

“I know,” Natty said, her lips turning up in a sexy smile, “we could have stacked them… more padding.”

“Oh,” Erin said.

Laughing, Natty kissed her and said, “Why don’t you get the fire started and I’ll go grab it.”

“Okay,” Erin said, watching for a second as the girl walked toward the car. Her hands were shaking a little as she started assembling the firewood. She managed to get a passable tee-pee assembled before Natty was back with the other sleeping bag. With the safety lighter from the backpack, she started trying to light it as Natty unrolled first one sleeping bag, then the other, stacking them one atop the other. The girl beat her finished, the fire finicky and not wanting to start. It did eventually catch, pushing back the encroaching night with its flickering flames.

Bathed in the flattering orange glow, Natty looked even more alluring than usual. Catching Erin looking, Natty waggled her finger, beckoning Erin to join her. Erin went to her and they stretched out on the improvised mattress. The sleeping bag wasn’t very wide and Erin used it as an excuse to get close to the girl. Natty didn’t seem to mind, pressing her body against Erin’s.

Their lips met and, this time, they didn’t have any reason to hold back. It was a good thing, because Erin didn’t think she had the willpower to resist Natty’s pull, anymore. As surely as a magnet draws an iron filling, Natty pulled Erin in and Erin surrendered to her desire for the girl. Erin wasn’t sure exactly how, but Natty ended up on top of her as passion welled up between them.

“I didn’t get a chance to do this on the beach,” Natty said, kissing Erin.

“Splitting up into pairs was your idea,” Erin reminded her.

“I know,” Natty said, smiling at her, “I got to kiss Mindy on the beach… You at the Grand Canyon…”

Amused, Erin asked, “Where are you going to kiss Ashley?”

“Anywhere she’ll let me,” Natty said, a naughty grin tugging at the corners of her lips. Erin didn’t think she was talking about a location.

“Wow,” Erin said, laughing. Still smiling, Erin said, “I don’t know about her, but I’m okay with anywhere you want to kiss me.”

“Yeah?” Natty asked, biting her lower lip playfully.

“Yeah,” Erin said, her heart beating a little faster.

“Here?” Natty asked, kissing Erin’s chin.

Laughing, Erin said, “Yeah.”

Natty pressed her lips to the curve of Erin’s neck, before whispering in her ear, “Here?”

“Yeah,” Erin said, sighing.

“Here?” Natty asked, kissing the hollow between Erin’s breasts.

“Are you going to ask every time?” Erin asked.

With a playful grin, Natty asked, “Here?

Laughing, Erin said, “Yes. The answer is always yes.”

Natty stopped asking her one-word question, working her way down Erin’s taut stomach. Erin’s muscles tightened in anticipation each time Natty’s soft lips neared her skin and she sighed with each kiss. That anticipation built upon itself the lower Natty moved, Erin’s body all but begging Natty to hurry up. By the time Natty’s nudged Erin’s legs wide open, Erin was so ready for her that the first brush of Natty’s lips against her bud drew a moan from her. The hot, wet caress of Natty’s tongue made the wait worth it, Erin’s hips moving against the girl’s mouth eagerly.

Erin was a little disappointed when Natty got to her knees, but it passed when she saw the girl reach for the backpack. Her heart beat a little faster in anticipation of which kinky toy Natty would pull out of the bag. Natty took her time rummaging through its contents, letting the excitement build. Her eyes widened slightly as her hand found something and she gave Erin a playful smile. Erin’s heart was already racing but that smile managed to get a few more beats per second out of it. Natty pulled the strap-on harness out of the bag, showed it to Erin.

Biting her lip, Erin nodded. She propped up on her elbows so she could watch as Natty slipped into the harness and secured it in place. Erin’s eyes were on the dildo and her mind on the last time she had felt it inside of her. It had felt so good then and Erin couldn’t wait for Natty to use it on her now.

On her knees, Natty moved into position between Erin’s legs. The cool tip of the dildo pressed against Erin’s vagina and her body stretched to accept it. She gasped as it slipped deep, her eyes widening. It was bigger than she remembered, filled her up. Her fingers tightened on the sleeping bag and she moaned thickly with Natty’s first thrust. Natty kept it nice and slow, letting Erin get used to the feel of the dildo inside of her. Each time the dildo bit deep, it forced a moan from Erin and her fingers were in danger of rending the sleeping bag.By the time Natty’s pace started to quicken, Erin was ready for it, wanted it. Needed it.

Bathed in flickering light, the flex of Natty’s body was mesmerizing, drew Erin’s attention. The graceful way the girl moved was made even more tantalizing by the fire, had an almost primal allure that Erin was helpless to resist.

“You are looking at me like that again,” Natty said, smiling at Erin.

“Can’t help it,” Erin moaned.

Natty leaned in for a kiss and Erin trapped her with a hand on the back of her head. Erin wanted to focus on the kiss but Natty wasn’t making it easy, the thrust of her hips not slowing even as her tongue caressed Erin’s. When she couldn’t continue, Erin let her fingers slip from Natty’s silky blond hair.

Natty didn’t straighten up, kissing Erin’s neck and shoulder. Her hands slipped up Erin’s flanks to cup her breasts. Erin’s back arched as Natty’s palms drug across her straining nipple, pressing her breasts against the girl’s hands eagerly. Natty kneaded them, drawing a thick moan from Erin’s slack mouth.

When Erin couldn’t bear any more, Natty’s hands slipped back down her sides to grab her hips. Her thrusts came hard and fast, Natty pulling Erin back into each one. The dildo bit deep with each roll of Natty’s hips, sending waves of pleasure crashing through Erin. Her cries of ecstasy echoed in the canyon, coming back to her.

Erin was right there, her body tightening in anticipation of that explosion of pleasure that was gathering force deep inside of her. Natty thrust once, twice, three times then Erin cried out as she came. All of Arizona might have heard that one, but she didn’t care. She lost herself in the lovely sensations washing through her body.

She brushed the hair out of her face, trying to catch her breath. Laughing, she said, “Holy shit!”

Natty’s face appeared above her and Erin pulled the giggling girl down atop her. Wrapping her arms around Natty’s neck, she kissed the girl deeply. Finally breaking the kiss, Erin let Natty pull back. Smiling warmly at her, Erin said, “Babe, that was amazing.”

With an amused smile, Natty repeated, “Babe?”

Erin blinked, then realized she had called Natty ‘babe’. A little embarrassed, she said, “Um, it just sort of slipped out.”

Laughing, Natty kissed Erin. When she pulled back, she was smiling, “I’m okay with ‘babe’.”

Surprised, Erin met Natty’s eyes. It was Natty’s turn to look embarrassed and she waved her hand dismissively. Laughing, Natty said, “I’m just teasing.”

Still looking at the girl, Erin wasn’t sure Natty was teasing. Not completely, at least. Her heart racing, she wondered, What is this?

Seeing Erin looking at her, Natty blushed and sighed, “Mindy and Sarah… The road trip… I don’t know… I guess I miss having a girlfriend.”

“You want to be my girlfriend?” Erin asked, suddenly hot with adrenaline.

“No,” Natty said, then shook her head, “Yes. I do, but I know it couldn’t work.”

“Why?” Erin asked, sitting up.

“Well… You are growing up and I… can’t. I’m twelve going on sixty-three,” Natty said, laughing, “and that’s the least of the reasons why it couldn’t work.”

Erin put her arm around Natty’s shoulder, pulled the girl close. Natty put her head on Erin’s shoulder. They sat like that a while, looking at the fire but not seeing it. The girl had given Erin a lot to think about. She had never thought about the future, in regards to her dead friend. Natty was right; Erin was growing up and she wasn’t. How would their friendship work if one day Erin was twenty or thirty and Natty was still a twelve-year-old girl?

Hugging the girl a little tighter, Erin said, “I- I hadn’t thought about that.”

“I know,” Natty said, sighing, “I’ve been thinking about it since your birthday.”

“Being my girlfriend or me getting older?” Erin teased.

“A little of both,” Natty said, smiling warmly at Erin. Sighing, Natty said, “Mostly the getting older thing.”

“I’m not going to stop being your friend just because I’m growing up,” Erin assured the girl, then laughed, “although it might be a little awkward if we are still doing it when I’m thirty.”

“I think you’ll be a beautiful woman,” Natty said, amused, “I’d probably still be interested.”

Erin kissed her and was a little surprised when it deepened in a hurry. She had thought the moment had passed but turned out she was wrong. Passion welled up between them, burning hotter than the fire beside them.

They shifted their positions until Natty was on her back and Erin between her spread legs. Erin worked the buckles on the strap-on harness, removing it. Erin looked at Natty’s pretty, smooth pussy and thought it would always look like this. She pushed that thought away before it could sour the mood.

Picking up the harness, she freed the dildo and tossed the rest aside. When she showed it to the girl, Natty nodded. Erin eased the dildo into Natty’s ready core and Natty moaned thickly. Moving it in and out slowly, Erin watched Natty’s face pinch in pleasure.

Erin leaned in and kissed the girl’s neck, then the slope of one breast. She ran her tongue over one straining nipple, trapping it with her lips. Natty’s back arched, pushing the breast against Erin’s mouth. Erin used her free hand and her mouth to tease a groan from the girl.

Moving lower, Erin kissed her way down Natty’s sexy belly. Natty’s breath caught in her throat when Erin nuzzled the hollow of her hip, then exploded from her in a moan as Erin’s lips found her bud. The hot caress of Erin’s tongue and the dildo moving inside of her had Natty writhing in pleasure.

It didn’t take long for Natty’s cries to change. Erin rolled her eyes up, saw the look of pure bliss on the girl’s face and knew she was close. It is hard to keep her mouth to Natty’s thrashing body, so Erin focused on keeping the dildo moving. Each thrust pushed Natty closer to the edge. The dildo sank deep one more time then Natty cried out as she climaxed. Erin watched the girl come undone, shaking herself loose.

Erin stretched out next to the girl and Natty snuggled against her. Staring up at the starry sky, Erin wondered what it would be like to have a dead girl for a girlfriend. She hugged Natty a little tighter.

——————————————-

The long hours in the car, Natty’s warm body pressed against her side, the relaxing crackling of the fire… Erin felt her eyelids getting heavy. While she knew she didn’t need to sleep here, in the Place of Locked Doors, she found herself nodding off, anyway. With nowhere she needed to be, she let sleep come up and pull her down into a comfortable darkness…

Opening her eyes, Erin looked around. For a moment, she thought she hadn’t fallen asleep, after all. Then she started seeing a handful of other people and realized she was back in the place beneath or beside the Place of Locked doors, the place she had visited when she fell asleep at the mall. She didn’t know if this was still the Place of Locked Doors or something different.

Or maybe it is just a dream, Erin thought, wondering if this is what a dream within a dream was like. For reasons she couldn’t explain, she didn’t feel that this was just a dream any more than the Place of Locked Doors was entirely a dream.

Standing up, Erin left her body and went walking. She glanced over her shoulder, shaking her head at how strange it was looking at herself from this perspective. Still, she had to smile, seeing Natty snuggle tighter against her flank.

It has been an amazing trip, not least of all because she has gotten to know her friend better. Then she thought about Natty’s revelation about how deep her feelings for Erin ran, and Erin shook her head. She would have to sit down and figure out how she felt about that.

Looking out at the Grand Canyon, Erin marveled at the view. Dawn was just breaking, and the sight was one she’d never forget.

Erin smiled as she realized she and Natty had spent the whole night in each other’s arms, lost in the throes of their passion for each other. She glanced at Natty, again, where she lay snuggled against her sleeping body. She felt a stirring of affection for the girl.

“What a mess,” Erin said, shaking her head.

Noticing someone leaning against the car they had borrowed, Erin frowned. She appeared to be a young girl, a teenager. Of all the places the girl could be standing, it seemed odd that she had picked the out of place car to lean against. The girl’s posture suggested her chosen spot wasn’t an accident.

Erin’s curiosity got the better of her and she walked over to the girl. As it had been at the mall, Erin was invisible to the girl. At least, Erin hoped she was because she didn’t seem at all phased by a very naked Erin walking toward her.

Closer, Erin saw the girl was probably a few years older than her, maybe fourteen or fifteen and pretty in a tomboyish sort of way. She was leggy, with brown hair and eyes that shined like emeralds.

“Hello,” Erin said, remembering being able to communicate with the people of this plane, even if they couldn’t see her.

The girl gasped, standing up straighter. Her beautiful eyes found Erin, not realizing she was looking right at her. She frowned, probably not trusting her senses. Erin waved, but the girl didn’t react.

“Natty?” The girl asked, making Erin gasp at the mention of Natty’s name.

Sighing, the girl said, “No, not Natty, but I can sense… Yes, I can sense her on you. You are there, aren’t you? I heard you gasp.”

“I’m here,” Erin said, her heart racing.

“Who are you?” The girl asked.

“Um, my name is Erin,” Erin said, then frowned. The girl had said ‘Natty’. Did she know Natty?

“Erin. It’s nice to meet you, Erin,” the girl said, smiling, “if this counts as meeting you. My name is Alison.”

“How do you know Natty, Alison?” Erin asked, her frown deepening. The name Alison was familiar for some reason, but she just couldn’t place it.

“We were friends before I was adopted and moved away,” Alison said, making Erin gasp, again. It was rapidly becoming her go-to reaction while talking to the girl.

“You are that Alison?” Erin asked, her eyes wide.

“Um, maybe,” Alison said, laughing, “depends on which Alison you think I am.”

Blushing, Erin said, “Um, the girl who showed Natty how… Um, her friend at… Gibbons… No that’s not it. Glaskins?”

“Gleason’s?” Alison asked, amused, “Do you mean Gleason’s Home for Girls?”

“Yes! Gleason’s!” Erin said.

“Natty told you about that, huh?” Alison said, blushing.

“Um, yeah,” Erin said, realizing it was kind of personal information.

“I take it you two are close, then?” Alison guessed and it was Erin’s turn to blush.

Suddenly, she was glad she was invisible. She said, “That’s one word for it.”

Laughing, Alison said, “Is she still as beautiful as ever?”

“Very beautiful,” Erin said, smiling.

Alison’s smile slipped and she asked, “Are you dead, too?”

“Dead?” Erin asked.

“I know Natty’s is dead, but are you?” Alison said.

“I’m not dead, no,” Erin said.

“Interesting,” Alison said.

“Interesting?” Erin parroted.

“Not dead, yet here you are,” Alison said, then reconsidered, “an anomaly in the land of the dead.”

“You are dead?” Erin asked.

“Yes, but that is not why I’m here,” Alison said.

“Then why are you here?” Erin asked, thinking this conversation was slipping into the surreal, like something out Alice in Wonderland.

“I’m waiting like everyone else,” the girl said.

“Waiting for what?” Erin asked, caught off guard by that curious answer.

The girl said something, but Erin didn’t catch it. She cried out in surprise as she was suddenly jerked backward about five feet.

Hearing her cry out, Alison asked, “What is it?”

Erin glanced over her shoulder, saw Natty gently shaking her vacated body to wake her up. Turning back to Alison, she said, “Natty is trying to wake me up.”

“Wake you up?” Alison asked, pushing away from the car and walking in the direction of Erin’s voice.

“Yes,” Erin said, crying out as she was pulled another ten feet toward her body, “I’m returning to my body.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Alison said, hurrying after her.

“I fell asleep next to Natty and left my body beside her,” Erin said, glancing over her shoulder. She was much closer to Natty now. Her heart racing she asked, “What are you waiting for, Alison?”

“Tell Natty…she needs… ask… Tell her… sorry,” Alison said. Erin missed half the words she spoke, as she was dragged systematically toward her body.

“What are you sorry about?” Erin called.

Alison shook her head, opened her mouth to say something, and…

Erin opened her eyes and looked up at a smiling Natty. The girl kissed her and said, “Well, hello, Sleepyhead.”

“Hi,” Erin said, sitting up, “I- I think I just met your friend, Alison.”

“Alison?” Natty said, then her eyes got wide, “You mean… How do you know?”

“I was asleep and it was like the mall,” Erin said, looking back toward the car, “I left my body and walked over to the car. There was a girl leaning against the door. Cute, in a tomboy sort of way. Had beautiful green eyes-”

Gasping, Natty said, “Alison! She had the prettiest green eyes!”

“She was trying to tell me something when you woke me up,” Erin said.

“What? What was she trying to tell you?”

“I think… I think she is sorry about something,” Erin said, sighing, “I didn’t catch what she is sorry about.”

“Why is she sorry?” Natty said, her eyebrows furrowing as she thought, “She’s never done anything to me that she needs to apologize for.”

“I don’t know,” Erin said, then sat up straighter, “maybe I can ask her.”

“How?” Natty asked.

“I’m going back to sleep and try to talk to her, again,” Erin said, stretching out on her back. As she closed her eyes, something occurred to her and she said to Natty, “Um, wake me up in an hour.”

“Why am I waking you up?” Natty asked.

“Um, I’ve never returned to my body on my own- someone always woke me up before,” Erin said, her heart beating faster, “I’m not sure if I can do it on my own.”

“Erin, wait,” Natty said, her voice distressed.

“What’s wrong?” Erin asked, opening her eyes.

“This… This seems dangerous,” Natty said, concern in her eyes.

“You don’t want me to do it?” Erin asked.

Sighing, Natty said, “No. I want to know what she was talking about, but it’s not worth the risk.”

“The risk?” Erin parroted.

“Just don’t do it, okay?” Natty said, hugging her tightly.

“Okay,” Erin said, touched by the girl’s concern.

“Sorry,” Natty said, releasing Erin and giving her an embarrassed smile, “it’s just… I couldn’t stand it if you got hurt because… because of me.”

“I don’t think that other place is dangerous,” Erin said.

“Still, it’s not worth it,” Natty said, then straightened up, “I can’t believe you met Alison! How is that even possible?”

“I don’t know,” Erin said, rubbing the back of her neck, “it was a bit of a shock.”

“When you sleep… You go somewhere… else?” Natty asked, glancing at the car.

“The other place…” Erin said, thinking about it, “it looks like this one, but with people in it. The car we borrowed… it was there… Do you think…”

Looking at Erin expectantly, Natty asked, “What are you thinking?”

“That the Place of Locked Doors is connected to that place, some how?” Erin asked.

“You are thinking about the car,” Natty said.

Nodding, Erin said, “It was in the exact same position over there as it is here. Alison was leaning against it. That’s another thing that was odd… Of all the places she could have been standing, she was leaning against the car we borrowed. It was like she knew it was connected to… You.”

“Me?” Natty asked, her eyes widening.

“The first word she said to me was your name,” Erin said, remembering the exchange, “she thought I was you, at first. It was like she was expecting it to be you…”

“Why would she expect it to be me?” Natty asked.

“I don’t know,” Erin said, frowning, “I’m waiting like everyone else.”

“What?” Natty said, frowning.

“When I asked her what she was doing here, she said, ‘I’m waiting like everyone else’,” Erin said.

“Waiting for what?” Natty asked, meeting Erin’s eyes, “Who is ‘everyone else’?”

“I have no idea,” Erin said, then laughed, “you woke me up before I could get an answer.”

“Well, I didn’t know you were conversing with my ex-girlfriend Alison,” Natty said, shaking her head, “Why is she waiting? And why is she sorry?”

With an amused smile, Erin asked, “Are sure you don’t want me to go back to sleep and ask her?”

Shaking her head, Natty said, “No. In this place, curiosity just might kill the cat.”

“Well, if I’m not going back to sleep,” Erin said, smiling at Natty, “we need to take some pictures of this sunrise. It’s so beautiful.”

“I know,” Natty said, glancing over her shoulder, “it’s why I was waking you up. I didn’t want you to miss it.”

They took a few pictures, then sat side by side and watched as the day reclaimed dominance over the night sky. Even when the sun was fully up, they didn’t move from their spot, just enjoyed the closeness of their bodies.

Eventually, Erin said, “We should probably pack up and get on the road.”

“Do you still want to take a different way back?” Natty asked.

“Yeah. I want to see a bit more of the country,” Erin said.

“Me, too,” Natty agreed, smiling at Erin.

“And if we found some more um… souvenirs along the way, I’d be okay with that, too,” Erin said.

Laughing, Natty said, “We should have borrowed a bigger car.”

———————————————

Erin yawned as Natty pulled the car into the drive way. This last bit of the return trip, they had driven eight hours straight, only stopping once for gas. They had had their fun, doing some more shopping and visiting any landmark they could find on the way and in the end, Natty had just wanted to get home. Erin was worn out, too. It had been long trip. Long, but amazing.

“Do you want me to help you unpack?” Erin asked.

“That’s okay,” Natty said, smiling at her, “I’ll get it tomorrow.”

“You sure?” Erin asked.

“Certain,” Natty said, getting out of the car, “I want to relax on the couch for a while.”

“I guess I should go, then,” Erin said, opening her door and stepping out of the car. She stretched and smiled at Natty over the hood of the car, “I can’t believe it’s been a week.”

“Eight days to be exact,” Natty said, circling the car to embrace Erin, “thank you, again, for doing this with me. I had a wonderful time.”

“Me, too,” Erin said, kissing her, “we’ll have to do it again, sometime.”

“I’d like that,” Natty said, her smile widening. She let go of Erin, stepped back. With a little wave, she headed inside.

Erin watched her go, shaking her head that she already missed the girl. When Natty disappeared inside, Erin closed her eyes and surrendered to the pull of her body. There was the curious sense of motion, even though her senses couldn’t detect anything in the darkness- no wind on her skin, no visual cues to indicate distance. Then she was back in her body.

Opening her eyes in the dark, Erin reached for her phone. She knew what she was about to see, but it didn’t make it any less disorienting. The date on the screen said it was still Thursday night, eight days in the past. She had lived a little over a week that simply didn’t exist.

“But it does exist,” Erin said, thinking, in my mind and in Natty’s. Well, my mind, anyway.

Frowning, Erin sent Natty a text: Do you remember our trip?

Natty sent back: How can I have forgotten it? It’s only been a minute since we got back

Smiling, Erin typed: Look at the date on the phone.

There was a brief pause, then: I know. It’s last Thursday night, again

She sent Natty a couple more texts, then set her phone aside. Looking up at the ceiling, she wondered if the rain would clear out over night and if it would be foggy on her ride to school tomorrow.

20 Responses to Black Lingerie Chronicle, Part Thirteen

  1. Fur says:

    Well that hit the spot but dam it Ebo now I want even more. I would love for Natty and Erin to be lovers it fits so well. I’d also love to see Ashley as part of that as well.

    I can’t get my other thoughts out in words that make sense but they say how much I love this story and want it to be a happy ending.

  2. ebo says:

    I’m glad you liked it. It took a while to get it posted
    so I hope it was worth the wait. Hopefully, it answered a few questions and posed a few new ones.

  3. Fur says:

    Always new question and it did help a little on some old ones. Still it’s hard to wait for the next part

  4. Lex Cortland says:

    Holy shit! I thought that the place Erin went to during the mall trip was the waking world, and she freaked out some living guy by talking to him when he couldn’t see her. It never occurred to me that it was populated by dead people.

    I’ve wondered for a while now if they could visit Becky or anyone else in the Place of Locked Doors. But then how would that even work, with Becky trapped in the 2010s and Natty in the 1960s?

    It also never occurred to me to put Erin and Natty together romantically, for the same reasons they have misgivings about it. A happy ending for them would be amazing.

  5. dman says:

    Absolutely wonderful, more please

  6. Andrew Mason says:

    Your writing remains wonderful. I thought there was some fascinating interpersonal development here, and I really enjoyed the inkling we got here that there might be a way out of the Place of Locked Doors for Natty.

  7. Jen and Susy says:

    Our Dear Ebo,
    A wonderful episode, one for the annals and well worth the little wait. The story was beautifully written and some of your phrasing brought a yearning to our hearts. “…. as the day reclaimed dominance over the night sky…” Suzy and I were there beside them looking over the rim of the canyon. We have been there so we know how it looks – and how it feels. With feelings in mind, it’s about time the relationship between the girls was broached. Their love for their friendship, always apparent, has now been transcended with Natty’s revelation of her wishing for Erin to be her girlfriend and the immediate heartbreak of their both realising the slowly widening age difference. You have left yourself a dilemma for the future, although we think we suggested a way out some time ago. However, having reintroduced Natty’s former Gleeson girlfriend you might have a way out there. It was super that Mindy expressed her growing love for Sarah and that their relationship precludes any other dalliance. So, where to now, we are certain all your readers are hooked on this amazing story but you will obviously wish to return to your others. You did make your own point – not to start new ones but concentrate on your existing stories – Susy and I agree. In the meantime, thanks for a terrific episode and like all your wonderful characters, keep ‘em coming – he he. Love Jen and Susy. X

  8. cassie says:

    “when she had been lying in bed earlier, wide awake and horny”
    Did Erin forget how to masturbate?

  9. No One says:

    A very interesting chapter, giving us a bit of everything: character development, mysteries… and of course, hot sex. I’m very intrigued by what’s going on with the “dream world” inside the Place of Locked Doors. I hope we get to explore more of that soon.

    It’s interesting that Natty revealed romantic feelings for Erin. Up to now, she had seemed very much the type to enjoy having multiple partners — though I guess a relationship doesn’t preclude that, if Erin is cool with it. With Ashley also hinting at romantic interests a couple chapters ago, I wonder how that will develop.

    Also, um, am I the only one who sees absolutely nothing wrong with having a girlfriend who perpetually looks twelve years old? Ahem, on the contrary… <_<

  10. Susy and Jen says:

    Hi Ebo,
    Please excuse our note to your reader:- “No One” and his final comment:-
    “am I the only one who sees absolutely nothing wrong with having a girlfriend who perpetually looks twelve years old?” I certainly do not – I am one of the lucky ones. In fact my g/f is my wife, Jen. We are both mid 20′s, I am 5′ 8″ tall and Jen is 4′ 7″ with a child-like frame but with nice boobs and I can quite easily, carry her around on my hip, especially when we go walking for she tires easily and refuses to go in a pram. So, not altogether sure about some of the looks we receive when cuddling and smooching as I expect some are insanely jealous (I know some in our society certainly are) whilst many hetero’s will and do condemn us.) Some looks – make our day. S and J PS She really enjoys my hip.

  11. Fur says:

    To Sussy and Jen

    “Some people have all the luck”. I wish you both the best and do hope your love lasts forever.

  12. Jen and Susy says:

    Our Dear Ebo, with your kind permission, this note is for Fur. Thank you, Fur for your kind comments and best wishes. Susy and I have known each other since just turning 12 and romantically involved since 16. Married earlier this year, we made promises and don’t have relationships (other than friendly) with anyone. It works for us and we are extremely happy. Thanks again. Jen and Susy

  13. No One says:

    @Susy – Lucky you, then! ;) It’s nice to hear about your happy relationship, and I wish you both many years of further happiness.

  14. Susy and Jen says:

    Dear Ebo,
    My little darling Jen is in hospital just now recovering from an operation and has asked me to write to you and beg, for BLC14: convinced one exists, she said it would speed her recovery immensely. Appreciating other tales are also crying out for your fabulous story telling, we can’t help but believe/hope that the BLC are also your favourite and therefore, you will have other episodes in the pipeline. Perusing some of the above comments from your other fans, it would seem we are not the only avid readers crying out for more. In writing and also on behalf of my wonderful wife, I would like to thank “No One” for the kind wishes he/she has expressed. In today’s world, we know just how lucky we are and truly believe our marriage will endure -although Jen may not always look 12 years old. Thanks again and as always, you too Ebo for your super duper site. Susy and Jen x

  15. ebo says:

    Ladies,

    I haven’t started a new chapter of Black Lingerie Chronicles, but if Jen promises to get better soon, I’ll try to have one by Tuesday or Wednesday. I’ve had the idea for a while now, but I’ve been kind of lazy in the writing department lately.

  16. Susy and Jen says:

    Hi Ebo,
    Here, it has just gone 05:30 am., the nurse has just given Jen some medicine and we are wide awake.
    Jen’s fabulous surgeon had arranged for a second bed in her hospital room so, since her operation, I have been keeping my little Treasure company on the lonely nights which followed. “Definitely, no hanky-panky.” he instructed. This was because he had operated on my Jen’s lovely little bottom,
    So, here I am, in Jen’s room and have just read to her your super promise. She is clapping her little, dainty hands; sporting a beaming smile and squealing – goodie, goodie gumdrops.
    We are now looking forward to another super read quite soon. A huge thank you Ebo, from both of us, you’ve made my little Treasure very happy and it follows, me too. Until next time, love Susy and Jen x

  17. No One says:

    Sad news, best wishes to Jen on a speedy recovery.

    And… damn, Ebo, I wish I could whip up a whole chapter in just a few days, too.

  18. ebo says:

    I used to average one a week, but it’s getting harder to keep up the pace. Especially as the chapters keep getting longer. Used to average about eleven to twelve pages, but some of the new ones are pushing thirty+ pages.

  19. Fur says:

    @Susy and Jen:
    Get well soon and my best wishes to both of you. Most of the hospitals I’ve been are the same way now.

    @Ebo:
    Split your pages to have more chapters it can also make it a bit easier to read.

  20. Susy and Jen says:

    Dear Ebo, today I took Jen for a little walk in the hospital. The nursing staff all smiled and said hi as Mrs and Mrs Davy walked amongst them. Hand in hand and stealing the odd kiss, we also got some funny looks from others. They were just jealous. A big thank you from both of us for your good wishes to Fur and No One, very kind of you both, it all helps. My little darling sits on a fancy cushion with a big hole in the middle and suffers only the odd twinge of pain. Might be home at the weekend. Love S and J xx

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